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The state of surprise

Rude awakenings The eruption of war in Ukraine in 2014 illustrated the strong and prevailing sense of surprise, even astonishment, that has pervaded post-Cold War Western public policy and mainstream media commentary in response to Russian actions. Perhaps the sharpest point was Russia’s unexpected annexation of Crimea: one US observer suggested that the US administration

in The new politics of Russia
Interpreting change

This book focuses on the Western difficulties in interpreting Russia. It begins with by reflecting on some of the problems that are set in the foundations of Russia's post-Cold War relationship with the West. The book points to problems that emerge from linguistic and historical 'interpretation'. It looks at the impact of Russia's decline as a political priority for the West since the end of the Cold War and the practical impact this has had. It then reflects on the rising influence, especially, but not only, in public policy and media circles, of 'transitionology' as the main lens through which developments in Russia were interpreted. The book then examines the evolution of the West's relationship with Russia since the end of the Cold War, focusing particularly on the NATO-Russia relationship. It focuses on the chronological development of relations and the emergence of strategic dissonance from 2003. The book also looks at Russian domestic politics, particularly the Western belief in and search for a particular kind of change in Russia, a transition to democracy. It continues the exploration of domestic politics, but turns to address the theme of 'Putinology', the focus on Putin as the central figure in Russian politics.

Building on earlier work, this text combines theoretical perspectives with empirical work, to provide a comparative analysis of the electoral systems, party systems and governmental systems in the ethnic republics and regions of Russia. It also assesses the impact of these different institutional arrangements on democratization and federalism, moving the focus of research from the national level to the vitally important processes of institution building and democratization at the local level and to the study of federalism in Russia.

This book is a systematic study that considers how international environmental agreements are transformed into political action in Russia, using three case studies on the implementation process in the fields of fisheries management, nuclear safety, and air pollution control. It develops the social science debate on international environmental regimes and ‘implementing activities’ at both national and international level to include regional considerations.

FAD2 10/17/2002 5:41 PM Page 17 2 The Soviet legacy and Russian federalism, 1991–93 Russian federalism and the Soviet legacy According to the 1977 Constitution, ‘the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ was a ‘unified, federal, multinational state formed on the principle of socialist federalism’. The federation, which was established according to the dual principles of ethnicity and territory, encompassed fifteen ethnically defined union republics, twenty autonomous republics, eight autonomous oblasts, ten autonomous okrugs, and 159 territorially based

in Federalism and democratisation in Russia

3 Northwestern Russia and the federative system This chapter gives a presentation of Russia’s federative system and of the political and economic situation in the northwestern regions of the country. The objective of the first part of the chapter is to describe the overarching political structures of the Russian Federation, particularly those pertaining to the centre–region dimension, thus providing a backdrop to the discussion of various agencies’ involvement in the implementation of international environmental agreements. The second part of the chapter

in Implementing international environmental agreements in Russia
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In the eyes of some observers, the Kosovo crisis posed the greatest threat to relations between Russia and NATO since the end of the Cold War. It also, according to some, seemingly demonstrated the impotence and marginalisation of Russia as an actor in European security affairs. In order to test and explore the validity of these propositions the discussions in this chapter first chart the course of

in The Kosovo crisis and the evolution of post-Cold War European security
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Reinterpreting Russia in the twenty-first century

The war in Ukraine has served to refocus Western political attention on Russia through the lens of the potential threat it poses to the West: Breedlove is one of many senior officials who have emphasised concerns that a ‘revanchist’ and aggressive Russia poses a challenge that is ‘global, not regional, and enduring, not temporary’. 1 British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

in The new politics of Russia
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‘We’ve moved on’

‘We’ve moved on.’ This apparently simple phrase, often uttered by officials and commentators on both sides since 1991, captures the evolving ambiguity of the relationship between the West and Russia. One (early) interpretation offered the more positive view that both sides have moved on from the confrontation of the Cold War: Russia is very different from the USSR, the

in The new politics of Russia
Open Access (free)

FAD10 10/17/2002 6:04 PM Page 172 10 Conclusions Article 1 of the Russian Constitution states that the Russian Federation ‘is a democratic federative rule of law state with a republican form of government’. However, as this study has shown, whilst many of the structural prerequisites of a federal state have undoubtedly been formed, a federal and democratic culture has still to emerge. Thus, as Kempton notes, ‘although Russia inherited a federal structure, it did not inherit a federal tradition’.1 Centre–periphery relations in Russia have been determined

in Federalism and democratisation in Russia